CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Marathon is just four days away, but route changes for the 2023 race have caused many to voice their displeasure with marathon organizers.
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The new route was revealed back in March and as Cleveland Marathon Executive Director Jack Staph tells 3News, those changes had to be made to accommodate construction on Lake Avenue in Lakewood.
"It's showcasing the city and what people have to understand is we don't have total control over this. We have to then present it to the city and it's negotiated on what we can and can't do," he says.
The new route will make this year's marathon entirely within Cleveland’s city limits. That's unlike previous years where parts of the race traveled through neighboring communities like Lakewood.
"We have to put 26 miles together in a little radius and so what we did is we talked to different running groups to get their impression of it and then we said, 'let's make this a Cleveland-centric course,'" Staph adds.
While the new route still amounts to the same length, 26.2 miles, the changes have produced significant backlash on social media
Twitter user @westparkrunner said, "It's one of the worst marathon courses I’ve ever seen."
Another user, @wrestlejasmine, wrote, "Looks like someone gave a red crayon to a two-year-old and said draw an alligator."
@lilypotter130 tweeted, "Wow, there's a lot of places that they're going to have to watch closely to keep people going the right direction. Way too many crossovers."
Staph dismisses the claims. He says that regardless of the race's new route, the event, which serves as a Boston marathon qualifier, still upholds its reputation as "the best scenic tour" of the city.
"We bring in almost $15 million of economic impact for Northeast Ohio. We have people from 46 cities that come and nine different countries," Staph adds.
The new course runs through city staples like Cleveland Browns Stadium, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center, Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and Progressive Field. It will then hit famous landmarks in iconic neighborhoods like the Christmas Story House in Tremont, through Ohio City and back to downtown Cleveland.